With the start of the semester a few weeks away, this post offers advice on some strategies to consider to get the most out of your law school experience. To begin with, it's important to consider the WHY for attending law school. Whether you are 1L or a 3L, knowing the purpose behind the effort makes a big difference. Maybe you have always dreamed of being a modern-day Clarence Darrow, or the fast-paced life of "Suits" called your name. Whatever the reason is, identify it. Once you have a clear reason in mind for why you are attending law school this semester, you can develop a strategy around it. For example, let's say the goal is to become a prosecutor for the Department of Justice. Now that you know that's what you eventually want to do, you can take a look at what courses are offered throughout law school that will help prepare you for that experience. Write those courses down on a piece of paper, and save it. When it comes to register for classes each semester, you'll be prepared instead of scrambling. More importantly, knowing the reason for being there is going to help when you have a bad day during your first semester, and you start to doubt your decision in coming to law school. Don't. Bad days happen, and fortunately they won't happen that often. Having a clear dream that you are shooting for will allow you to weather those hard times with poise and determination. Next, think about a strategy for getting the most out of your classes. For those new to law school, a little disclaimer: even if you have the IQ of Albert Einstein, you would be well-advised in being proactive in how you approach attending your courses. That's because many law school courses offer one chance to demonstrate your understanding of the material, and that's the final exam. One of the bigger shocks that comes with the pursuit of a law degree is the realization that the depth of material covered in one course can be enormous. If you don't have a plan for retaining that information in your mind, the final exam will hurt, a lot. With that being said, here are some tips for addressing such a challenge. 1. Take good notes, every single day of class What do I mean by "good notes"? In law school, good notes can address two things: the analytical problem, and the means for solving it. The analytical problem: To incoming students, this won't make a whole of sense until classes actually start, but it may be helpful to conceptualize analytical problems as akin to a math equation. Similar to eighth grade algebra, every law school course addresses a set of problems within that legal area that have distinct variables. For example, in Criminal Law the problems might be "how to prove second-degree murder" or "factors needed to prove that a defendant was part of a conspiracy." The analytical solution: Once you have identified the problem and the variables associated with it, the rest is actually quite simple. Listen closely to the solution given by your professor to the problem, and write it down clearly. Yes, sometimes those solutions will involve multiple steps, but so did algebra. The key is to take notes that reflect the legal problems and their solutions in an easy to read, easy to understand format. This is key for the next piece of advice I would offer: review those notes daily, or at least weekly. 2. Review those notes If there is one recipe for success in law school, it's discipline. If you take the time to review your notes for every class on a daily basis, you'll be amazed at how much better your final is going to go. While law school is more than rote memorization, law final exams test your ability to think clearly and effectively against a time-limit. In the last paragraph, I explain why this is crucial. 3. Be "Nascar" good If you have ever watched a Nascar race, you might have noticed that the most impressive thing you witnessed wasn't the driver careening 200 mph down a racetrack, but his pit crew. A professional pit crew can perform a tune-upon a racecar in under two minutes. Fast, stylish, and instrumental in helping the driver win - that's how a pit crew operates. The point is, if you put in the time to study your notes every day and take good ones, you'll do just fine come finals. Cheers, Kanoa Gordon